During the turn of the last century, there was a sense of possibility among humanity, a sense that history was coming to an end, and prosperity would come to all. The turn of the 22nd Century did not bring with it such feelings of hope and wonder; not on Earth anyway. On Earth, there was a persistent feeling of decay, the eroding of borders, a sense of entropy in the global economy. The mass deportations of the 2080s had stopped the bleeding, but a purely capitalistic economy with inexpensive, ubiquitous robotic labor now seems destined for stagnation. The population problem has gone, Earth seems to have capped out at 11 billion people, fluctuating by a billion depending on the rate of immigration to Mars.
The Mediterranean Union is gone, crushed by populist uprisings after food shortages caused by embargoes from the colonies, bitter over the Guardiola Incident, and a war in East Africa between Mexican and American proxies. With their autocratic governments gone, the former MU was ripe for poaching by America and Mexico, with each side hoping to block the other from total control over Europe’s access to African and space resources. The shortages had also spread to northern Europe, leading once great nations to collapse into anarchy. France was partly saved after an American military regime restored order, but Germany completely fractured thanks to some help from the Poles. Some think Poland’s recent prowess for engineering chaos, like the civil war in Iran that let them unify Azerbaijan, came from the Mexican school of diplomacy. Brazil was quick to capitalize on the chaos in East Africa, and expanded its alliance in Western Africa by supporting a number of factions to carve out their own sphere of influence.
While Europe attempts to recover from its most recent wave of troubles, in Asia, the Mex-American Cold War has torn the United Federation of China asunder. Already imploding from a population being drained by the colonies, and with regionalism on the rise, the Beijing government was ripe for being overthrown. Mexico sparked a number of revolutions against the Federal Chinese Government in the industrial south of the country, and after a short, but costly civil war, some order has been restored and a provisional republic governed from American-run Shanghai has been propped up. With similar uprisings in South East Asia and Indonesia, America’s grip on Pacific trade, seems to be slipping, and Mexican ships and aircraft are now able to traverse the globe. While the Mexican people are largely indifferent to their government’s ability to engineer problems for the Americans abroad, they are enamored by their greatest insult to the Americans yet: the establishment of Mexico’s first space colonies. Built from captured asteroids and locked at L1 and L2, these giant habitats are the size of some of the larger O’Neil ships. While they are only armed with asteroid defense lasers and a minimal security force, these stations effectively abolish America’s ban on all military activity in space outside of its own.
While Earth continues to implode, the colonies seem to have come to ignore Earth, pushing further out as terraforming efforts across the system begin to produce ever more promising results. Mars’s population is well on its way to 2 billion people, and is the political capitol of the ITC. Venus can now support terrestrial fauna after nearly a century of terraforming; its great Launch Loops repurposed as a means of travel, having completed their decades long task of reversing Venus’s rotation to a 24 hour day. The three Jovian Ice Moons support expansive subsurface colonies and have gotten rich from the export of hydrogen from Jupiter to Venus, bolstered by a fishing industry that provides the system with the rarest of delicacies. Titan, still being drained of Nitrogen, is now importing oxygen in some territories, and excess rock left over from the construction of habitats, provides additional landmass to the great moon. Triton has become rich off of the demand for Helium-3, and is importing resources from across the whole system to build its habitat up for all the residents required to support its industry, and the Tel-bn refugees and their children that have come to call the moon home. Pluto's satellite Hydra has been converted into the largest O'Neil ship in history to provide terraforming supplies for Epsilon Eridani-c. 20,000 colonists will sleep for 20 years as a complex biosphere matures on the flight to their new home. And back at Earth, Luna and the Orbitals watch their nearest neighbor tear itself apart, banning the creation of intelligent artificial life forms, and driving all manner of outcasts to the colonies. Where the colonies only knew betrayal after the Guardiola incident, a new feeling for Earth is beginning to emerge int the colonies: pity.